There are tough pills to swallow and then there is this one. With under three minutes to go in regulation, we sat there with Montreal leading the Boston Bruins in game three of their series by a 3-1 score, all but assuring we would at least get a push with our UNDER 5 pick because an empty netter was still a real possibility. However, Jarome Iginla potted a goal with just over two minutes to go in regulation time to make the score 3-2. As the seconds ticked down it looked like we would unfortunately have to settle for a push, and that was until the dreaded empty netter became a reality with THREE seconds left to go in the game. Two goals in less than 2 and a half minutes including an empty netter with just three ticks left on the scoreboard gives us a losing pick and a very difficult one to comprehend. Not sure what else we can do about that one as everything went to plan until the last couple minutes of the game, so we will put it behind us and move on to tonight’s only game on the NHL schedule, with the Pittsburgh Penguins attempting to put a 3-1 stranglehold on the hometown New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers
My Pick – PENGUINS (-105) @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)
The Pittsburgh Penguins, fresh off back-to-back shutouts of the New York Rangers will take their shot tonight at grabbing a 3-1 series lead and heading home to try and finish the series off on Friday night. Although the Rangers outshot Pittsburgh by a 35-15 count on Monday night, they were unable the find the back of the net and their miserable powerplay continued its ineffectiveness that has been very apparent throughout this year’s playoffs. The Rangers have not scored on their last 57 shots on goal and have not scored in their last 34 opportunities with the man advantage. It is almost incomprehensible how an NHL team can go 0 for 34 with the powerplay, but New York is showing us that it can be done, and Rick Nash is a big reason why this unit is not producing any offense. Nash has scored just one goal in over 20 playoff games with the Rangers since his arrival in New York, and he has not tallied any in this year’s playoffs. He leads all NHL players with 41 shots so far in the playoffs but as mentioned, has struggled relentlessly to find the back of the net. On the contrary, another superstar who was being singled out for not scoring yet in these playoffs finally got one in game three as Sidney Crosby scored a breakaway goal to perhaps catch fire as this series and the rest of the postseason progresses. Crosby was playing very well despite not getting in the goal column, but this team is definitely better when he is scoring and this is a big reason why I like Pittsburgh to win again tonight. With Crosby, Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury at the tops of their games, this Penguins team is going to be very difficult to knock off in any seven-game series. Malkin has a team-high ten points in these playoffs, Crosby is second on the team with six assists in the postseason, and the two stars are looking to use the powerplay to their advantage heading into game four. The Penguins road powerplay was the fourth best in the NHL this season at 23.2% and they have a powerplay clicking at 24.1% over their last ten meetings with the Rangers. Their success in general against the Rangers over the last couple of years simply can’t be ignored either. The Pens are 12-4 over their last 16 games against New York and 6-2 over their last eight games at Madison Square Garden. I am looking for the Pens to continue their success over the Rangers tonight and go up 3-1 in the series with a chance to end it on home ice Friday night.